Preventing Construction Accidents at a Texas Construction Site
Construction work is among the most dangerous occupations here in Texas and across the United States. If you’re injured while working at a south Texas construction site, it’s essential to discuss your rights and options as quickly as possible with an Edinburg construction accident attorney.
What are the most common injuries that are sustained by construction workers? Can construction accidents be prevented? If so, how? And what are your rights if you are injured at a construction site because your employer – or anyone else – was negligent?
Keep reading, and you will learn the answers to those questions in this brief look at construction workers’ rights and how to prevent construction-related accidents and injuries.
What Are the Leading Causes of Construction Accidents?
Texas aggressively enforces comprehensive construction safety regulations. Nevertheless, accidents and injuries will happen at construction sites. Insufficient training, on-site hazards, and defective or worn tools and equipment are only several of the reasons for construction accidents.
According to OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), these are the leading reasons for construction site accidents:
1. falls and falling objects
2. workers being caught between or caught in machinery or structures
3. electrical and burn injuries
4. exposure to dangerous molds and other toxic substances
Can Falls be Prevented?
Falls are responsible for approximately one in three construction site-related injuries. Severe injuries can be the result of tripping over equipment, slipping, or falling off scaffolds or ladders.
If the proper safety measures are not taken or enforced at construction sites, the consequences may be tragic, but with the proper measures in place, falls are less likely to happen. Those measures include:
1. adequate safety training
2. maintaining the construction site with safety as the top priority
3. the use of harnesses and guard rails
4. scaffolding and ladders that meet safety standards
Can Tools and Equipment be Prevented from Falling?
Falling objects – tools, nails, and heavy equipment – cause a number of construction site injuries including traumatic brain injuries. Falling objects always pose a safety hazard at a construction site.
Debris nets may be used to catch falling objects. Hard hats should be supplied by employers and worn by construction workers with no exceptions. Construction workers are responsible for their own appropriate footwear.
Cinch attachments, self-vulcanizing tape, lanyards, wristbands, and D-rings prevent tools and other items from falling but allow workers to still use those tools effectively. Heavier tools should be tied to an anchor point or a structure.
Can “Caught-Between” and “Caught-In” Accidents Be Prevented?
Caught-in and caught-between accidents occur when construction workers are trapped in or crushed between equipment, walls, or other objects, or when trenches or structures collapse.
In 2018, out of 1,008 construction site deaths in the United States, 55 were caused by caught-in or caught-between accidents.
Caught-in and caught-between accidents cause severe personal injuries that include broken bones, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, muscle and nerve damage, injuries that require amputation, and paralysis.
Can Construction-Related Electrical Injuries Be Avoided?
An electrical injury may occur if a construction worker indirectly or directly contacts live wiring or electrical equipment including control panels, junction boxes, light fixtures, circuit breakers, and transformers.
Power lines also pose a risk. So does defective electrical equipment that may include portable lights, extension cords, and power tools. Electrical equipment should never come into contact with accumulated or standing water.
When you work at a construction site, always wear the proper personal safety equipment. Use only the appropriate tools when you work near or with live electricity.
What Are a Construction Worker’s Rights?
If you are injured doing construction work, and if anyone other than the employer had any responsibility for the accident that caused your injury, you may be eligible to pursue a third-party injury claim. The legal rights of Texas construction workers include but are not limited to:
1. reasonably safe and reasonably hazard-free working conditions
2. training and information about dangers at a construction site and how to deal with them
3. a right to request a safety inspection of the site by OSHA
4. a right to file a safety violation report or consult an attorney without employer retaliation
Steps to Take If You Sustain a Construction Injury
An injured construction worker in Texas must file an injury report with his or her employer within thirty days of the injury, but don’t wait thirty days. Report accidents and injuries to your employer as quickly as possible.
Similarly, an injured construction worker must file the paperwork for a workers’ compensation claim within one year of the injury, but you should not wait that long. As soon as you’ve been treated for your injury, have a Texas accident attorney help you file for worker’s comp benefits.
What is a Construction Accident Attorney’s Role?
In south Texas, an injured construction worker should have a personal injury lawyer’s help to file a workers’ compensation claim. Your lawyer will see to it that no misunderstandings or mistakes delay your benefit payments.
The right Edinburg construction accident attorney can also review your case to determine if you’re eligible to bring a third-party personal injury action. If you are, your lawyer will begin out-of-court negotiations and seek an appropriate settlement offer.
That’s how the majority of personal injury cases are settled in Texas, but when no acceptable settlement is offered, your lawyer can take your third-party injury claim to trial and ask jurors to order payment of the damages you need, deserve, and are entitled to by law.
When Should an Injury Attorney Be Contacted?
Construction work is dangerous. However, if you are a construction worker, you have rights that include a right to compensation for job-related injuries – but that compensation isn’t automatic. An accident attorney’s advice and representation will be needed.
If you are an injured construction worker who needs workers’ compensation payments – or if anyone other than an employer had any responsibility for your injury – obtain legal help immediately after you’ve received medical treatment.
Yes – You Can Afford an Attorney’s Help
Personal injury attorneys in Texas work on a contingent fee basis, so you don’t pay an attorney’s fee unless and until your Texas construction accident lawyer recovers your compensation with an out-of-court settlement or a jury verdict.
What’s more, your first legal consultation is free and entails no obligation. You’ll get the sound, personalized legal advice you need, and you will learn how Texas law applies to your own situation.
If you are injured in south Texas while doing construction work, an attorney’s help is your right, and Texas state law will be on your side.
By Chris Brasure
Brasure Law Firm, PLLC was founded by Chris Brasure in 2006. His legal accomplishments are diverse and numerous. He is a fellow with the Texas Bar Foundation, was a delegate in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and holds a BA in political science and speech communication from Baylor University. He then went on to obtain his law degree from Baylor University Law School. Chris believes that education is absolutely critical to one’s success, so his firm now offers The Brasure Law Firm Scholarship to give back to the community and to help students who are seeking to pursue a higher education.